MANILA, Dec. 29, 2013—A high-ranking official of the Catholic Church called on the Filipino faithful to lead a life of conversion, urging them to abandon old and evil ways as they welcome 2014 filled with faith and hope in their day-to-day living.
Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), urged the laity to start anew in the coming year, shunning evil influences and ending the violence and corruption hounding the society.
“We pray for an end to kidnappings, we pray that violence stop. We beg for the end of terrorism and the conversion of the corrupt,” Villegas said in his New Year 2014 message dubbed “Let us start again”.
“We pray for peace in Syria, healing for every troubled heart. We pray for typhoon victims that they can soon rise up and start,” he said.
“Today is the feast of peace, that all may live as one. We pray that war may end and hunger may be gone. We pray that the reign of terror and the power of each gun be melted by the mercy of God and the Blood of His only Son,” he added.
Villegas noted the relevance of welcoming the year with positive disposition, noting that it is important to grace new beginnings by looking back with gratitude and perceiving the future filled with faith and hope.
“Behold the Lord makes all things new, God of new beginnings. We look at the year behind us with gratitude for its blessings. We look at the New Year eagerly, hoping for the best to come. We believe in His tender love, secure in the embrace of the Son,” he said.
The prelate also urged the faithful to give honor to the Blessed Virgin Mary, whose motherhood is being celebrated by the Catholic faithful in the special season of the birth of Christ.
“Today is the Feast of Mary, we celebrate her motherhood. The baby she conceived in her heart and carried in her womb, that baby is truly God-man, we believe and we proclaim, He has made our hearts His home; to obey His will is our aim,” Villegas said. (Jennifer Orillaza)